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"I'm a pirate, blast it! Pirates do not MOAN!" — Cortez, Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door

Cortez is a character and boss fight in Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door. He is the first boss of Chapter 5, is the main boss of that Chapter and is overall the ninth boss of the game.


Cortez was a skilled pirate captain that lived over a thousand years ago. Even after his death, his spirit (now reduced to a skeleton) was still bound to his massive hoard of treasure that he amassed in his life. He stole the Sapphire Star from the Koopa that was one of the four heroes that defeated the Shadow Queen a thousand years ago. Flavio's ancestors stole a valuable piece of his treasure, the Skull Gem, which was used to power his ghost ship. Mario and his friends journey with Flavio to Keelhaul Key to find the Crystal Star. Mario discovers Cortez's treasure and fights him, but since he is an immortal ghost, he cannot be destroyed. Since Mario was only interested in the Crystal Star, Cortez gladly parted with it (he says he never liked the Crystal Star anyways). When Lord Crump and his X-Nauts crew attacked the stranded sailors on Keelhaul Key, Flavio made a deal with Cortez: if he returned the Skull Gem that powered Cortez's ship, Cortez and his crew would help defeat the X-Nauts. Afterward, he helps transport everyone back to Rogueport and allowed Mario and his companions to sail back and forth between Rogueport and Keelhaul Key.

Battle Tactics

First Phase

Cortez is very strong in battle. In his first form, he attacks by stabbing Mario or his partner with one of his blades. He can do this once for large damage, or 4 times for 2 damage per hit.

Second Phase

In this form and the next, his head is high above the battlefield and can only be attacked with Jumps, but he rests in the spiky Bone Pile. In his second form, he becomes a serpent-like form and holds a gem in his chest, which can only be attacked after he attacks twice, although it has a defense of -3. He attacks by either charging up and firing bones, or headbutting Mario.

Third Phase

In his third, true form, he holds his four blades next to him. These blades, the Cortez Hook, Cortez Rapier, Cortez Sword, and Cortez Sabre are enemies in their own right and can be attacked, although they eventually return if defeated. Cortez himself attacks by biting Mario. After his HP reaches half, he inhales the souls of all audience members, recovering 1 HP for each member. It's best to use Flurrie in this fight as she is the most effective. Flurrie's Gale Force can completely rid away Cortez's weapons. Vivian is also recommended as Fiery Jinx can also disable the weapons. It must be noted Flurrie completely rids the weapons from the battle, whereas Vivian only disables them for a couple of turns.

With Power Lift influence Yoshi can be used for the fight as well. Though Flurrie and Vivian are the better options.


  • Cortez is the second main Chapter Villain in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door to not be in line either either Grodus or the Shadow Queen, the first being Grubba.
  • Cortez is the first and (so far) only Chapter Villain in the Paper Mario franchise to reform and be an ally for Mario.
  • Cortez is very similar to Lava Piranha from the previous installment.
    • Both bosses serves as the main boss of their fifth respective Chapters.
    • Both bosses takes place on an island.
    • Both bosses can attack on more then one turn.
    • Both bosses have a muti-like parts (Lava Pirana: Heads, Cortez: Arms).
    • Both bosses have another mini-story bit after that battle.
    • Both bosses two or more phases in their battle.
    • Both bosses (as least in the first two phase of Cortez) have a serpent-like appearance.
    • Both are the ninth bosses as a whole.
      • Despite the similarities, they are both opposite in some ways
        • Lava Piranha is a larger version on a Piranha Plant who has an element in him, he has a monstrosity-like design, is fought in a volcano, never reforms and is not fallowed up by another battle.
        • Cortez however is an original boss who has no element themes in him, he has a more humanoid design, is fought in his ship in a cave, reforms after the battle and is followed up by another boss.
  • Cortez is the first and only Chapter boss in Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door to be fallowed up by another boss.